Interestingly, the survey suggests the sexes handle the responsibility differently: 43% of women and just 34% of men were stressed by being the main earner. The reason for the difference is probably twofold: men are more likely to have been raised with the expectation they’d ‘bring home the bacon’; doing so feels like a ‘natural’ responsibility and their ‘manly’ duty. Secondly in our experience, women, particularly high achievers, plan ahead. They may be envisioning a future where the arrival of their own children means they will take a step back; difficult if the money is made by mum, not dad. Plus the flattening of wages and the rise of in-work poverty means it takes two incomes to survive for any family – no doubt adding to her stress.
According to MomsRising.org, the wage gap is wider between mothers and non-mothers than between women and men in the US – a trend we discuss in the next piece. Women without children earn 10% less than men, while mothers earn a staggering 27% less than men. The gap is even wider for lesbians and women of colour. All of this has serious implications for families who rely on a woman’s income, which is most families. To create a more just society, fixing the pay gap is the only way to will ensure all workers, male and female, can support themselves and their loved ones.